This kind of error happens when Empathy cannot communicate with the instant messaging service for some reason.
Also, this kind of error happens when you try to use an IRC account without setting a nickname.
Make sure that you are connected to the Internet, or to a local area network.
Click the icon in the error message.
Check in the Advanced section that all the details are correct. You should be able to find these details from the website of the messaging service.
Switch the account off, and then switch it on to try to reconnect to the service.
At the moment Empathy can not be configured to work with a proxy.
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