Did Google coerce Twitter to remove and nofollow links?

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In an attempt to remove potential benefits users can get from their social media profiles, Twitter.com joined the crowd of companies providing services, but not allowing their users to obtain any gains, like a simple dofollow link back to their sites, for their content creation efforts.

Twitter recently removed all possibilities to pass link juice in the 'About' section by removing linking capabilities from the 'Bio' field.

Twitter Dofollow Link Several days ago I realized that the link in the ‘Web’ section of my Twitter profile was nofollowed; hence I decided to experiment with positioning the link in a different section. I found out that by not entering my URL http://www.SpanishSEO.org/ in the ‘Web’ field, and instead, adding it to the body of the text, I will be capturing a dofollow link back to this site as seen on the image to the left.

But all that came to a sudden end today! Even though the link to this site and to my other Twitter account (for Spanish speakers) still appear in the 'Bio' section, they are no longer clickable.

Sources from the Search Engine community attribute this sudden change to a dubious intervention from Google, in an attempt to one more time manipulate and/or dictate the behavior on the web.

Twitter No Follow LinksThe heads up came from Rae Hoffman (aka surgarrae http://twitter.com/sugarrae) and Michael Gray (aka grawwolf http://twitter.com/graywolf) when they found out that Twitter profiles no longer had the linking functionality available.

This morning, Graywolf even asked Matt Cutts if he had some involvement in this situation by pointing to a tweet Cutts openly sent to Evan Williams (aka Ev) Co-founder and CPO of Twitter.

The link that Matt is making reference to in his message (http://bit.ly/2vmSAz) points to Dave Naylor’s post titled Twitter Backlink Tip.
Matt Cutts Tweet

However, so far there is no official response from either party, Twitter or Google, that the latter had tried to influence the former with the link removal strategy. Likewise, Matt Cutts has not officially responded to this serious allegation either in his blog, via Twitter or anywhere else.

Several other members of the Search Marketing community frustrated by these actions expressed their indignation through their tweets.

Comments filled Twitter asking Google's Matt Cutts why they are not being FAIR with people’s microblogging efforts. But the most relevant question/comment of all was “why to follow Google Webmaster guidelines if they change the rules all the time when they don’t like the outcome.”

Different examples of profiles were referred as being the target of preferential and discriminatory treatment by Google itself. In the image below, taken from the iGoogle Themes page, you will see a dofollow link provided by Google to the author of the theme.

Google Dofollow Link

I understand that nofollow links were originally used as a way to combat comment spam back in the day when people were using this technique to get backlinks. Nofollow was later on promoted as part of the concept of if you don't trust it, use it. The latest implementation of the nofollow doctrine was in paid links as a way to avoid being held accountable. And of course, the nofollow pundits pushed the benefits as part of PR sculpting.

I also understand that there is spam going on in Twitterland. But from that point to simply try to interfere with web behavior in order to protect their self-serving interest is going way too far. This attitude of 'potential' interference with what companies are doing needs to stop Please!

Update: Rae Hoffman wrote Did Twitter Lay Down for Google? where she mentioned some important points.

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