Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp is reportedly testing a system that would let businesses talk directly to its users for the first time. 

According to communications seen by Reuters, the tests are being carried out with a selection of companies that form part of the Y Combinator startup incubator.

President of Y Combinator, Sam Altman, has reportedly said that he is not aware of such tests.

But according to Reuters, the co-founder of one of the startups involved, Umer Ilyas of Cowlar Inc, has said that the trial is in its early stages. Ilyas, whose company makes collars for dairy cows that collect data on their activity and recommend changes to improve milk yield, wants to use the app to send automatic alerts from the collars directly to farmers.