Google launched the real-time Penguin 4.0, more granular version of Penguin on Friday. Google wrote in its announcement that it "now devalues spam."
Many SEOs and website admins (Webmasters) interpreted that as meaning that Penguin no more penalizes and it appears as though they are correct.
Google's Gary Illyes said on my public Facebook post that the new Penguin algorithm "figured out how to devalue spam instead of demoting." But he also said that Google's recommendation for using the disavow file has not changed. As such, you should to utilize the disavow file to recover from Penguin issues.
In any case, if Google just devalues the spam and doesn't demote the spam, then why use the disavow file?
Illyes said in the Facebook discussion that "specifically there's less need" to use the disavow file for Penguin. Gary also included "you can help us help you by using it." Adding that "also manual actions are still there, so on the off chance that we see that somebody is efficiently attempting to spam, the manual actions team may make a harsher action against the site."
So in short, it seems Google Penguin no longer penalizes the site or specific pages but rather ignores/devalues the spammy links and in this way the rankings are balanced. Gary said this should to make website admins / webmasters "more joyful and happier," including "and that makes me glad."
Here is a screen shot of the raw conversation of Barry Schwartz & Gary Illyes:
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