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Behind the (very silly) Pfizer vaccine name

The CEO of OnlyFans wants to set the record straight about his app’s head-scratching decision to ban sexually explicit content: “We had no choice — the short answer is banks,” Tim Stokely told the Financial Times.

Late last week, OnlyFans, a subscription-based platform that allows viewers (“fans”) to pay content creators directly for their work, made an announcement that set off an outcry across the internet. The app would still allow nudity, but would ban “content containing sexually-explicit conduct” — meaning sex acts.

The message was confusing: Although OnlyFans isn’t exclusively a porn site, it owes its success to a massive community of sex workers and performers for whom the app became a financial lifeline during the pandemic.

The decision is a result of a much wider and concerted crackdown across the internet, driven largely by payment processors like Mastercard and Visa, who, behind the scenes, oversee every transaction, whether you’re paying for groceries or tipping a performer on OnlyFans, CNN Business’ Brian Fung writes.

In April, Mastercard rolled out a series of new requirements governing adult-content transactions. Platforms would be required to verify the age and identity of those who were posting and who were depicted in online porn, among other things.

The issue, according to banks, is not prudishness. They’re ducking legal exposure.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Once again, sex workers are being cast aside as collateral damage. We couldn’t include them all here, but my colleague Sara Ashley O’Brien spoke to several OnlyFans creators about how the new rules will gut their businesses.

It all boils down to the difficulty of distinguishing between consensual, legal images uploaded by entrepreneurs and illegal, abusive content uploaded by criminals. Mastercard won’t stand up for the former while it’s under pressure to sift out the latter. OnlyFans may want to make a moral stand for its creative community, but it’s also a business, and it can’t make money without processing payments.

The question for OnlyFans is whether it can survive in its new, decidedly less sexy existence, or whether it becomes the next Tumblr. We don’t bet here at Nightcap, but if we did, we’d place our wagers on Tumblr.

NUMBER OF THE DAY

15,000

The bulls have officially assumed taken the wheel on Wall Street. The Nasdaq surpassed the 15,000 level for the first time ever Tuesday, thanks to tech stocks. The S&P 500 gained also hit a new record high. Now all eyes are on the Dow, the most famous Wall Street market barometer, which is just a few hundred points from the 36,000 milestone.

COME AGAIN?

The most consequential vaccine in our lifetimes has received full FDA approval, and with it, a new brand name. Everyone please take note of where you were, what you were doing, what the air smelled like, the moment you first heard the official moniker of this groundbreaking, lifesaving miracle…Comirnaty.

No really, that’s the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine name. Comirnaty. I’ve typed it at least 20 times today and I still can’t wrap my head around it.

An actual branding agency came up with it, according to the trade publication FiercePharma. The word is a mashup of “Covid-19 immunity” + “mRNA” in the middle, and is meant to evoke “community.”

It’s pronounced koe-mir’-na-tee, according to the FDA.

Naturally, the internet had a field day with this one.

It’s a very dumb name for a very good thing. Like when Netflix briefly rebranded as “Qwikster.” But I guess, gun to my head, it’s the one I’d choose over the other names under consideration, which included: Covuity, RnaxCovi, Kovimerna, and RNXtract.

I honestly can’t wait to see what the Moderna vaccine will be named. Here’s a humble idea: the Moderna vaccine. Or ModernaVax, if you want to be edgy about it.

WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON?

  • Airbnb has pledged to provide free housing for 20,000 Afghan refugees.
  • A data leak that affected dozens of companies and agencies — including American Airlines, Maryland’s health department and New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority, among others — exposed millions of people’s personal information to the public internet for months, according to security researchers.
  • The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating whether Boeing employees who are supposed to flag safety problems with aircraft are being pressured by the company not to raise concerns. Spoiler alert: It sure looks like they are.
  • McDonald’s has been forced to stop selling milkshakes and bottled drinks at nearly 1,300 restaurants in the United Kingdom, citing staff shortages and supply chain delays.
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