Yes, backlinks are measured not only by quantity but quality as well (which seems to be a more and more important factor).
Launched in 2012, the Penguin is a specific ranking signal that analyzes the quality of the links pointing to your site. In September 2016, Penguin became a part of the core algorithm update. It’s now real-time, and instead of penalizing, it’s devaluing links, as an effort to combat negative SEO.
The devaluation doesn’t mean that algorithmic penalties are over.
“One specific signal of the algorithms is called Penguin, which was first launched in 2012 and today has an update […] It’s also important to remember that updates like Penguin are just one of more than 200 signals we use to determine rank” – source (Google)
Just a quick reminder, Penguin is not about backlinks only, but other webspam issues as well – source (John Mueller, Google)