The problem

After upgrading from 12.10. to 13.04. empathy doesn't show online contacts anymore. All accounts seem to be affected by this (facebook, ICQ). Sporadically a contact is listed as online for a few moments but then disappears again (I guess these are contacts that just went online). There is at max one contact listed as online at any time.

What I tried

I tried removing and adding the accounts but had no luck. I also tried removing cache and config files of empathy and telepathy. Again no luck. Running empathy debugger did not reveal any problems.


When removing and readding my facebook account I now get a crash in telepathy-gabble: telepathy-gabble crashed with SIGSEGV in dbus_message_get_reply_serial() Upon continuing after the crash, the problem remains (no contacts shown as online).


There is at max one contact listed as online at any time.
Sometimes more than one contact is listed as online. But only ever for a short period of time.


When starting empathy with facebook account configured:

empathy-auth-client crashed with SIGSEGV in ag_auth_data_get_parameters()

I had also this issue. It happend most if you start empathy on start-up with empathy -h.

I solved it to add killall empathy && empathy -h to startup. Sometimes even then it would not work. Then just open terminal and do killall empathy && empathy -h again.


I founded that program don't show up when you added empathy to the start up applications. You even not go online when added to boot. So remove it and start empathy manual after boot.


Had the same issue. I booted up my machine and Ubuntu said Empathy crashed.

Try one of these:

  • restart your machine
  • restart lightdm

After that my Empathy was working again. :)

  • Thank you for your answer. I, too, got some error from some empathy/auth binary but your solution had no effect in my case. – Tobold Apr 26 '13 at 12:04

A possible solution

Reinstall Empathy by first using sudo apt-get remove empathy --purge

Install it again by using sudo apt-get install empathy -y

Now, open up your Empathy. If the problem still exists, this can be a cause of you have enabled settings in the facebook-chat itself. If you choose to remain offline for a selected number of people on facebook, empathy will notice this, and they wont appear online in empathy either.

Note that the argument --purge removes current config-files and settings with the program, and will might fix this.

  • Thank you for your answer. Unluckily the problem still persists after doing this. Strangely my ICQ account is now listed as a "null" account that I cannot delete. I can see the account number to the right but no applications are listed. I will try deleting the config/cache files again. BTW I don't use any such settings in facebook. – Tobold Apr 26 '13 at 12:01
  • I just had to reinstall the ICQ plugin to get rid of the "null" account askubuntu.com/questions/207152/… bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/gnome-control-center-signon/… – Tobold Apr 26 '13 at 12:11

I am afraid none of the so called solutions here work on Raring so far. Best is to turn off online accounts and use Pidgin, for now Pidgin seems to be working fine.

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